Research Impact: Car Exhausts and Childcare Centre Research Highlights Policy Gap

A group of researchers from the University of Melbourne, University of Queensland and Royal Melbourne Hospital have used the AURIN Workbench to access data from multiple disciplines and then visualise this data to examine the proximity of childcare centres to roads.  They found that many childcare centres are built close to busy roads, putting children near dangerous vehicle exhaust and highlighting the need for buffer zones.

Considering that asthma and allergies are the leading cause of GP presentations for children under 5 in Australia and that traffic related air pollution (TRAP) is a significant contributor to asthma and allergies, and is particularly damaging to children with developing lungs, the research group set out to examine the locations of childcare centres and their proximity to high traffic volume roads where TRAP might be elevated.

Researchers Clare Walter, Dr Elena Schneider-Futschik and Associate Professor Louis Irving, were able to access clean, integrated data through the AURIN Workbench from the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority and from VicRoads – Roads Corporation of Victoria.

By accessing and visualising this data in the AURIN Portal they found that of the 278 childcare centres examined, 14% were within 60m of a major road.

AURIN enabled the research group to access data and tools to undertake multi-disciplinary research and outcomes can be used as an evidence base for service location or pollution control planning in the future.

First published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health the research has been featured in an article for Pursuit and the Age.

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